Dubai: The second half of the second day of the Global Chess League witnessed the great Vishy Anand face off against Magnus Carlsen when SG Alpine Warriors went up against Ganges Grandmasters, here on Friday.
The SG Alpine Warriors were playing their second match of the day, winning the coin toss, they opted to play with the white pieces.
All eyes were on board one where — for the first time in years — Magnus Carlsen was up against Vishy Anand, the man he beat in 2013 to claim the title of world champion for the first time.
Carlsen seized the initiative early in the game. He soon achieved an extra pawn and more initiative, leading to a better position. The former world champion Vishy Anand was in a tough sport — defending a poor position he gradually fell into time trouble. After an exchange of heavy pieces, Carlsen ended up in a significantly better position. In the end, Anand had to resign to his old foe.
In the post-game interview, Carlsen and Anand shared their thoughts and impressions on the game and what it means to play one another.
“There’s always a special touch when we play,” said Anand.
“It was good to play Vishy but right now I am more concerned about my team,” Carlsen added. And he was right. Luckily for the Ganges Grandmasters, they bounced back.
Carlsen’s attention proved well-placed as the Ganges Grandmasters made a remarkable comeback, securing victories on boards two and five. Richard Rapport convincingly defeated GM Gukesh, while Bela Khotenashvili triumphed over Elisabeth Paehtz.
With the remaining three games ending in draws, despite their loss on board one, the Ganges Grandmasters crushed the SG Alpine Warriors with a final score of 11 to 6.
In another clash between, Balan Alaskan Knights and Triveni Continental Kings — both sides went in hard and the games were tough. Following a slip of the wrist as early as move eighth, Nino Batsiashvili ended up in a worse position against one of the top Indian female players in the world, Harika Dronavalli.
However, while Batsiashvili was managing to hang on, her teammates Tan Zhongyi and Raunak Sadhwani scored victories, giving their team a huge eight-point lead early on.
With top-icon players Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Ian Nepomniachtchi drawing, the pressure was on Grischuk and Vidit to save the day for upGrad Mumba Masters. As is often the case for Grischuk, he ended up in time trouble early. Despite managing to hang on, in the end, he misplayed and lost. At the same time, Dronavalli finally brought Batsiashvili to defeat it was clear the Balan Alaskan Knights won the match.
Despite the winner of the match being decided, this was not the end. Vidit Gujrathi of upGrad Mumba Masters managed to secure a winning position against Teimour Radjabov but was in desperate time trouble. After a series of wild moves, where Radjabov was posing problems, fighting back, Vidit finally slipped. In the end, it was a draw, after 123 moves.
The final score in the match was 14:5 in favour of the Balan Alaskan Knights.